Jazz-Thunder Preview

The Oklahoma City Thunder will be without Russell Westbrook for at least one more game, and if they don’t win before then, they’ll potentially welcome him back mired in their worst losing streak since his rookie season.

The Western Conference’s worst and most unhealthy team will try to get by Wednesday night at home against the Utah Jazz, who have also fallen on hard times since beating the Thunder just over a week ago.

Westbrook could return Friday against New York from a broken right hand that has already cost him 13 games. The Thunder’s current six-game losing streak is the longest they’ve had since a seven-game skid Feb. 10-27, 2009, during Westbrook’s first season.

Kevin Durant (broken foot) isn’t far behind as the team’s leading duo returned to practice activities this past weekend.

"Kevin and Russell participated in most of it and there has been some contact," coach Scott Brooks told the team’s official website. "They both went through most of the practice and most of the contact."

Offensively, though, Oklahoma City (3-12) took another step back in Sunday’s 91-86 loss to Golden State. It’s scoring a league-low 89.6 points per game on 41.6 percent shooting. During the six-game skid, the Thunder are at 38.6 percent and 29.0 from 3-point range after a 3-for-17 mark against the Warriors.

Reggie Jackson is averaging 20.1 points in 12 games starting in place of Westbrook, including 22 along with 11 rebounds and eight assists against the Warriors. However, he shot 10 of 26 and is at 34.8 percent over the past five games.

Serge Ibaka scored 16 but has struggled as a go-to option. He went 5 of 17 and is shooting 45.1 percent, well off his 54.1 percent career mark.

If anything positive has come out of a miserable start for the Thunder, it’s been what Brooks sees as the team’s defensive progress while holding opponents to 40.7 percent and 92.5 points on the losing streak. Golden State, one of the league’s top shooting and scoring teams, shot 35.5 percent.

"Our defense is something that has improved during this time," Brooks said. "That’s something we’ve talked about as one of our staples and that’s definitely been the case during this stretch of games in November."

The Thunder have beaten the Jazz (5-10) in six straight at home, but little went right in a 98-81 loss Nov. 18 in Utah.

Alec Burks scored 20 points on 5-of-8 shooting with a career-high 14 rebounds, while Enes Kanter had 16 points and 15 rebounds. The Utah center has averaged 15.8 points over the past five games.

Kanter had 19 points Monday against Chicago, but it was part of a 97-95 home loss, the Jazz’s third straight since defeating the Thunder.

Derrick Favors had a team-high 21 points and a season-best 15 rebounds, and Trey Burke continued to recover from a slow start with 18 points and 10 assists. The point guard is shooting 61.5 percent and averaging 19.0 points in the last two games after opening the season with 9.8 points on 32.0 percent through 13.

"Trey was terrific," coach Quin Snyder told the team’s official website. "Not just because he scored, but because of his presence. And he did a great job defensively, which I’m really more happy about than anything because that’s the area I’ve emphasized the most with him. I know he’s got a lot of guts and can make shots and he’s a big-game player, but for us to be really good we’ve got to be good on the point of the ball."